The best uses of education technology are not about the technology – they’re about teaching and learning. Technology can be a powerful tool, but it’s all about how its used.
There have been a lot of dead ends and broken promises on the edtech highway, but there have also been some clear wins – meaningful uses of digital technologies that can help students engage, explore, learn, practice, and retain knowledge. After a decade of considering and writing about emerging education technologies, I am more compelled than ever to understand and share some of the ways that thoughtful, informed uses of technology can empower teachers and position students to own their learning.
Before digging in, let me state clearly that simply placing devices in students’ hands and expecting that to make a difference is foolish (there are so many analogies that come to mind here – give them an iron skillet, and bam! they are chefs, give them a wrench and they’re plumbers, give them 3D printers and they’re engineers, etc.). It just doesn’t work that way.
Last week we looked at the power of education technology to give students a more prevalent voice. In today’s post, we’re going to look at spaced repetition – a memorization techniques that learning science has proven works, and consider technology to support this technique.
Spaced Repetition
Wikipedia’s spaced repetition page explains:
Spaced repetition is an evidence-based learning technique that incorporates increasing intervals of time between subsequent review of previously learned material in order to exploit the psychological spacing effect. Alternative names include spaced rehearsal, expanding rehearsal, graduated intervals, repetition spacing, repetition scheduling, spaced retrieval and expanded retrieval. The use of spaced repetition has been shown to increase the rate of learning.
The page goes on to cite research and studies stretching back nearly 100 years. The basic premise of spaced retrieval is that by studying material that you want to learn over

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